Halloween is an amazing family holiday. It’s a fun, social outing for all, particularly children who look forward to seeing their neighbors turn their walkways and garages into haunted adventures. Unfortunately, as child safety experts, we also see the not-so-safe side of Halloween. In most neighborhoods, there are lots of children as young as 6 and 7, walking around without grownups, knocking on strangers’ doors for candy.
Don’t let your children become a predator’s dream. Here are four ways to keep your children safe this Halloween.
1) Before you leave your house, check out if your area has a sex offender database. If so, see any registered offenders live in your neighborhood. Make sure your children don’t knock on the registered offender’s door for candy. If your child is allowed to go out alone or with friends, then make sure he or she understands what an offender is and to stay clear of that house – even if that house has the best decorations on the block.
2) Use the “buddy system.” It seems like common sense, but many kids are telling us they are walking around by themselves. If your child does not have a group, you need to go with him or her. Moms – don’t stay home to give out the candy. Instead, set a time you will walk around with your child, and then come home and give out candy. And remember while you’re out: the international signal for “no candy” is a porch light turned off.
3) Only go to people’s homes you know. We’ve had children tell us they are allowed to go to every house in their neighborhood. Remember stranger danger. The best thing to do for your family is to know your neighbors before it comes time to trick or treat.
4) Make sure your kids know to never – ever – go into anyone’s house. There are some pretty frightening stories about kids knocking on the door and being told to come in and get candy. Even if our children may not understand the danger of going into a house, you do. So before your child goes trick or treating, sit down and have a discussion about the rule.